How synbio must evolve to be successful

Earlier this year, we hosted a thought-leadership workshop for leaders and influencers in synthetic biology, to discuss the challenges facing the industry, and what new tools and technologies are needed over the next few years to accelerate progress.

In this vlog, James Hallinan discusses the background to the workshop, what we learned and what’s next.


So, we recently held our biodesign workshop which was looking at what are the challenges in synthetic biology, and what do we need to do to develop new tools and technologies over the next few years to really accelerate the rate of progress that synbio as a sector can make.

The reason we did this was we’re really excited by synbio – I think it’s fantastic that we can do things like create cheaper and longer lasting food, create environmentally-friendly bioplastics, find new ways to make fuels that are carbon neutral and, of course, better ways to diagnose and treat disease. But not all of these exciting opportunities are being grasped. Progress is slow, uptake is patchy and the business models are still in their infancy as well.

But we soon discovered there is a bigger issue – that the sector doesn’t really agree what the most important challenges are, and we wanted to see why progress is slower than we would like it to be, and what are the most important things for the sector to overcome.

So, we gathered a range of leaders from large companies, small companies, some academics and investors from all around the world, and they came to our workshop. They had all sorts of backgrounds – there were molecular biologists, software developers, engineers of all different flavours and some entrepreneurs, and we asked that question: What tools and technologies do we need to develop over the next five years?

We held our workshop, our report is available for download on our website, and we’re really excited by the progress that can be made. We’ll be exploring some of the themes that came out of that workshop over the course of the next few weeks in a series of blogs, and we’re also going to be holding a webinar later on as well, to really go into some depth about the actions that people are taking.

So, stay tuned, keep an eye on the Cambridge Consultants synthetic biology blogs to see what themes emerged, and download the workshop report.

James Hallinan
Head of Business Development, Bioinnovation

James specialises in bioinnovation and early-stage technology commercialisation across life sciences and healthcare